The Encyclopedia of describes the historical development of the collectiolns, functions, and services of the world’s largest research institution from its origin in 1800 to 2004.
The Encyclopedia presents a comprehensive overview of the Library, particularly how cultural circumstances, politics and strong personalities shaped its early development and expansion into what eventually became "America’s Library," a national and international institution of great significance and influence. In addition, the Encyclopedia provies answers to questions such as:
- How and why did Thomas Jefferson’s personal library become the core of the Library’s collections?
- Which Librarian of Congress served simultaneously as a battlefield surgeon?
- Why was the appointment of poet and writer Archibald MacLeish as Librarian of Congress in 1939 controversial?
The Encyclopedia contains 13 expertly written essays that summarize themes in the Library’s evolution; its role in the national and international arenas, including its relationships with the American library community as well as with scholars; and its interactions with other federal cultural institutions, such as the Smithsonian Institution and the National Archives. The Encyclopedia also includes over 75 articles that describe the Library’s collections and principal administrative units. The Encyclopedia’s appendices bring together information about the Library never compiled before in any other source-such as information about the Library’s senior officials and the growth of the Library’s collections.
The Encyclopedia is enhanced by the inclusion of a 10-page color portfolio depicting the Library’s spectacular Jefferson Building and 200 black and white illustrations that provide a graphical overview of the history of the Library.
Originally published in print format in 2005.